Skip to comments.The Biggest Missing Story in Politics - One Year Update
Posted on 08/20/2009 10:42:20 PM PDT by Scanian
August 25, 2008, just about one year ago, my article on those Battleground Polls -- which have routinely shown for many years that about sixty percent of Americans are "conservatives" -- stirred up quite a ruckus. If my analysis is right, then that would explain Democrat hysteria over the town hall meetings in America as the revelation that the Left is just a small minority of Americans who have insinuated themselves into the chokepoints of information, education, entertainment, and policy in American society.
Gallup, which has also polled the ideology of Americans, has presented the data in a much murkier way. While the Battleground Poll allows respondents six options -- "very conservative," "somewhat conservative," "moderate," "unsure," "somewhat liberal," and "very liberal," the Gallup asks (or reveals) only whether respondents identify themselves as "conservative," "moderate," or "liberal." Nevertheless, three Gallup Polls this summer have shown just how profoundly conservative Americans are. On June 15, for example, Gallup revealed that conservatives are the largest ideological group in America: 40% of us call ourselves conservative, 35% of us call ourselves moderates, and 21% of us call ourselves liberal. Moreover, Gallup shows that since 1992 conservatives have become an increasingly larger share of America.
Then, on July 6, Gallup revealed that Democrats were becoming more conservative, independents were becoming more conservative, and Republicans were becoming dramatically more conservative (a whopping 58% of Republicans said that they had become more conservative in the last few years.) Viewed from every angle, both Gallup and the Battleground poll identify conservatives as the largest ideological group in America and a group that is growing fast.
The most fascinating poll, however, was revealed by Gallup on August 14. The impact appears deliberately downplayed by Gallup. The title of the article simply states that the conservative ideology prevails
(Excerpt) Read more at americanthinker.com ...
Interesting. But it means conservatives are extremely impotent.
Only if you limit yourself to counting living voters.
So I ask again, who is this majority that put a socialist in the White house and gave him a socialist majority in Congress, the better to turn the US into a socialist nation? Are that many Americans that stupid?
Not necessarily. Fear of losing votes could make even the most left-wing politician cave into conservative policy. And vice versa.
...Are that many Americans that stupid?...
It is not inconceivable the data is flawed but we now have two studies and, even if the data is exaggerated toward the conclusion stated, it is nevertheless undeniable that there is a gross discrepancy between these data in the blue state/red state demarcation line. Why do people not vote their philosophical beliefs?
The author implies the following explanation:
If my analysis is right, then that would explain Democrat hysteria over the town hall meetings in America as the revelation that the Left is just a small minority of Americans who have insinuated themselves into the chokepoints of information, education, entertainment, and policy in American society.
I infer from this that the author is suggesting that the system is somehow distorted by Democrats who have taken over the "chokepoints of information" and somehow prevented the electorate from working its will. I have an instinctive negative reaction to any theory that smacks of conspiracy. Yet I agree with the idea that liberals do dominate the chokepoints of information, education, entertainment and policy in American society." Living in Europe, I see the domination here to be generic and not just isolated to chokepoints. I do not like conspiracy theories, yet it is undeniable that many a voter enters the polling booths a conservative and emerges a Democrat. So there is clearly some sort of a disconnect.
It might not be a conspiracy at all, it might be something so simple as the average voter simply voting his perceived interests which he identifies with the Democrats' program. For example, many elderly are conservative but just flat will not vote for any candidate who does not support their Social Security. The Democrats have done a marvelous job for generations demonizing Republicans as thieves of Social Security. It took Ronald Reagan to bring union members to see, at least for a season, their true as opposed to perceived interests. It might be nice to subscribe to the abstract ideal of limited government, but many a single mother is far more interested in feeding her children.
Americans pride themselves in their pragmatism. It is human nature to vote one's self-interest and rationalize away the philosophical inconsistencies. The Democrats are masters at pandering to the interests of one special interest group after another. They do not say to the elderly, throw away your lifelong beliefs in limited government and we will reward you with healthcare, they change the vocabulary, obscure the issue, and enable the rationalization.
In this process, Democrats are greatly aided by the intensity factor. That is, if an earmark builds an unneeded bikepath in a congressional district the benefit is focused but the cost is spread across the entire nation. No one feels the pain of this particular insult but they do understand that Senator Byrd is helping them pave every square inch of West Virginia.
I am not sure that the way to fight this is to stand against the Democrats parceling out goodies to focused and motivated groups with platitudes of conservative truths. The Democrats have been providing Americans with the vocabulary to rationalize away these truths for generations. The people will not say "I'm voting against my heritage and my grandchildren knowingly because I want to stick my snout in the public trough now," they will say, "I have paid my share into Social Security and I'm only getting back my contribution." In fact, the recipient will be getting back on average multiple times his contribution. But that does not matter, what matters is that the voter has been supplied the rationalization he needs to abandon conservative principles.
In Europe there are no conservative principles there is only a resort to ad hoc solutions to problems. The best way to expose this difference between America and Europe is to talk to my German neighbors about the right to bear arms. They see no philosophical undergirding for the right to bear arms. It does not matter to them that piece of paper assures us of that right in America. They want a pragmatic solution to violence and they think that denial of the right to bear arms provide that security. The matter of philosophical right does not enter into the equation. They need the evidence of only one massacre in one school to decide the philosophical issue.
In America, the Democrats have been so artful in providing ad hoc solutions to real or imagined problems that we have now gotten to the point where it is rare indeed when a solution which benefits intensely one group will be denied because it is ultra vires the Constitution. We simply don't think that way very much anymore. Even today, the argument over nationalized healthcare is not primarily a constitutional but a pragmatic argument. The right does not emphasize that to nationalize healthcare is unconstitutional, but argues that it is impracticable, costly, unfair, and, yes, big government. But I believe that the seniors in the town hall meetings are not primarily motivated by their love of small government but by their love of their Medicare entitlements.
That is not to say that there are not transcendental moments in history when an issue crystallizes a philosophy. The healthcare issue is coming very close to that now. Cap And Trade, perhaps as mortally dangerous to our economy as healthcare, has not aroused the people to the same degree. I believe that they simply do not see their ox being gored by Cap and Trade. But healthcare is a matter of intense personal interest as opposed to rhetorical, conservative notions of good and constitutional governance.
Will self-interest continue to trump patriotism as the advancing blue line the inexorable encroaches more and more of the map of America?
Some are. Others are not political junkies. They are just ignorant, no doubt due to their lack of curiousity and a drive by media with the same lack of curiousity.
The drive by media portrayed BHO as a pragmatic moderate.
The rats in Congress started moving to the right in 2006.
Large numbers of voters don't know the issues, and they decide their votes in the last days before an election.
Conservatives vote *for* Conservatives. There weren't any.
Most interesting analysis. I agree, self interest will make us rationalize any position. For me, I have a health care benefit that I do not wish to lose under any new system. I am a member of Obama and Congress’ health care plan, the FEHBP, the Federal Employee’s Health Benefit Program. I worked for it, I was entitled to take it into retirement, and I damn sure do not want my plan reduced to some cheap welfare plan for which they raise costs and reduce my benefits. Why should I not feel this way. Why should I have to apologize for this benefit that I earned from my working career.
I disagree nathanbedford. The last election was the Republicans’ to lose, and lose it they did. That is the entire story.
The Republican Party has been shedding Conservatives at a furious rate, ever since Reagan, especially (exponentially) since 2004, and now the majority stand outside of the party. That should tell you volumes.
Look at what an average Conservative family should have produced demographically (in voters)since 1980, and compare that to the numbers the Republicans have been able to garner. Conservatives are doing what they always do - They are sitting it out, and have been in larger numbers all along.
The “vote for us because we’re better than Democrats” shtick has worn thin. Boogey-man tactics will not suffice. Blame-shifting and phony promises will not do.
Put up a “Contract with America” espousing actual Conservatism, lead by actual Conservatives and watch how fast the tables turn.
Amen. That is exactly what I want to see. A new contract with America, based on workable conservative solutions. And true conservatives to implement it.
You NEVER have them asking that question with The Messiah at the helm, do you?
My belief is many of those who claim to be Independents are really Democrats and Liberals who simply do not want to admit their beliefs. The Right has done a good job in convincing people liberalism is NOT a good thing.
That is certainly not the "entire" story is not even part of the story because it is based on a false premise. There is no perspective from which a reasonable person could conclude that the last election was the Republicans' to lose. They were running after 12 years in power. They were running unavoidably on the record of a miserably unpopular president who had been conducting a miserably unpopular war.
The economy was in shambles and there was absolutely no confidence in the land that the president who had managed Hurricane Katrina could manage a worldwide economic crisis. The Republican brand had been disgraced by the Republicans, who, led by President Bush, engaged in unrestrained spending and so dishonored their legacy that the populace actually believed that that the Democrats were better on the issue than Republicans. Likewise on the issue of defense. Likewise on the war in Iraq. Likewise on Social Security, healthcare, the environment, and education and just about any other issue one can think of.
After eight years of unremitting fifth column work by the nation's media, unaccountably not countered by the administration which was apparently operating under a rope-a-dope strategy, the party was left beleaguered and virtually leaderless.
We nominated a candidate who was old, who had betrayed the base, who was not charismatic, who was wrong on immigration, wrong on energy, and right only on the war in Iraq and that was unpopular. He shrank from attacking his opponent and failed to support his running mate.
Under these circumstances when the Democrats nominated a "clean" African-American, the media simply would not countenance any result other than a victory for the Democrats. They generated what I described in the vanity before the election as an "Obama Pathology" which was an emotional state in which there was no hearing of any biographical fact or previous association of Barack Obama's which might betray him for the Manchurian Marxist he is.
One cannot conceive of a more difficult environment for the Republicans to win an election. If anything, it was the Democrats' to lose. But my main objection to this false premise is that it diverts our attention away from the true challenge which confronts conservatism today.
That is the reality of the demographics currently facing the Republican Party which I described in a reply of a few days ago. In politics demography is destiny. In America race is demography. It is a daunting landscape which Republicans face which might be overcome by strict adherence to conservative principles but that is by no means guaranteed. It certainly will not be overcome by glib assertions that we got the mechanics wrong. After this reply there are some other considerations which we ought to think about which suggests that our entire assumption that preaching conservatism is a winning combination might be wrong. That comes in the second reply. Here is the first reply:
Here is the money quote from the analysis that is significant because, although the other reasons cited by the author for the Republican predicament might well be true, the ones expressed in these two quoted paragraphs are the most important and, alas, largely irremediable:
A second problem is demographic. Obama took the presidency with the help of a coalition of the ascendant (the phrase is the analyst Ronald Brownsteins): young people, Hispanics, and other growing elements of American society. One of those elements is white voters with college or postgraduate degrees, among whom Obama prevailed handily. By contrast, McCain enjoyed a decisive plurality among -non-college-educated whites-a segment that accounted for 53 percent of the overall electorate as recently as 1992 but that now stands at only 39 percent.
A third long-term challenge is geographical. Over the past five presidential elections, Brownstein writes, Democrats have built a blue wall consisting of 18 states and the District of Columbia; these account for fully 90 percent of the electoral votes needed to win the presidency. In addition, Democrats control most of the Senate seats from those same 18 states, as well as more than 70 percent of the House seats, two-thirds of the governorships, every state House chamber, and all but two of the state Senates. In the Northeast, Republicans now hold just 18 percent of U.S. House seats and only one-seventh of U.S. Senate seats. Some parts of the country are nearly devoid of Republican -representation.
These two paragraphs are actually presented in the correct order. The geographical blue wall constructed by Democrats and described in the second paragraph which makes any Republican challenge for the White House or control of either house of Congress at best daunting and, at worst, virtually impossible, is caused by the demographics described in the first paragraph. In politics demography is destiny. The second consideration about demographics is race. In America all politics is not as Tip O'Neill said, "local," rather all politics is racial. If the Democrats can obtain 90% of the black vote, that yields 10% of the voters. If they can obtain 80% of the Hispanic vote, that yields them roughly 10% of the vote. If they can obtain 70 to 80% of the Jewish vote, that yields them to 2 1/2% of the vote. If they can obtain 80% of the gay vote, that yields them to 2 1/2% of the vote. The problem is that they can and do consistently obtain these percentages of these racial/ethnic groups. If one adds these groups up the percentage totals 25% on election morning before the Democrat candidate even gets out of bed.
Within a few years America will be a majority nonwhite nation. Those demographics are destiny for the Republican Party and those demographics tell us why as the author writes , "Democrats have built a blue wall consisting of 18 states and the District of Columbia; these account for fully 90 percent of the electoral votes needed to win the presidency. "
These are absolutely chilling statistics. If conservatives on these threads want to be serious about survival, nevermind revival, of their political philosophy we ought to direct our attention to coping with these realities. For example, all the problems of our Rinos are symptoms rather than causes of our current pitiable state. It is not something in the water in the blue wall states that makes Rinos of Republicans.
It is also true that if we put back all three legs of Ronald Reagan's Republican stool under the party, social conservatism, fiscal conservatism and national defense, the best we can hope for is to get to a point where if we have a tremendously appealing candidate and we make no mistakes we can eke out a national victory for the White House by counting the votes in Ohio or in some other key state. In other words, if we do everything perfectly we might win if the stars are in alignment and the Democrats make a few mistakes. Otherwise, the Democrat enjoy the bulge of demographics which will justify James Carville's prediction -unless something intervenes to change the demographic reality.
Parenthetically, it is appropriate here to note that Barack Obama is rapidly changing America into a country divided in twain with non whites voting against whites. Obama's latest Rasmussen strong approval versus strong disapproval ratings show that his position has deteriorated to the point where non-African-American voters strongly disapprove of him by a ratio of 2 to 1 (41 -- 22). It does not take an actuary or a bleeding heart liberal to understand that he is pushing America toward a house divided.
It does no good now to look over our shoulder, but the Bush years in which he allowed the infiltration into this country of so many illegal immigrants have probably spelled the eclipse of the Republican Party for decades.
So if we want to change the world we must burnish our conservative image, find a candidate with the charisma of Ronald Reagan, and work like hell. In the meantime, some really fine minds must undertake to turn the demographics around by devising a true message for Hispanics and women, especially single women.
The second dilemma which faces conservative is the assertion that preaching conservatism in its purest, pristine form will win the day. I'm not so sure this is true. One should consider the health care debate and ask oneself are the teabaggers and protesters in town hall meetings raising a conservative Banner or are they merely protecting their entitlements?
That is not to say that conservative arguments are not being employed in the protection of those entitlements, but their protection itself is essentially an anti-conservative position. A true conservative position on health care would be to repeal Medicare. But that is being advocated by no one.
Here is the second reply:
Dick Morris's thesis is that 15% and the largest single portion of the Democrat base, the elderly, are about to abandon the party fear of loss of healthcare services.
I think that he is largely right in this reading of the numbers. But let us be mindful of what is occurring here: His thesis says that the seniors are abandoning the Democrat party because the party which had given them Social Security under Roosevelt and had given them Medicare under Lyndon Johnson now threatens to take away the rice bowl. In effect, the parties have swapped positions. The Democrats are looking like Scrooge and the Republicans appear to be defending the right of seniors to keep their entitlement.
This is essentially an anomalous situation that will not long obtain. Either the Democrats will wise up and find a way between now and November 2010 to posture as the great entitlement givers or they will find a way, as they have every election cycle, to libel the Republicans as satanic princes who would take away their Social Security.
It is really by accident of overreaching and incompetence that the Democrats found themselves on the wrong end of this issue. But, for the Republican to continue to to profit from the issue, they must find a way of taking credit for defending an entitlement which many of us feel is unconstitutional and wrongheaded. This dilemma is personified in the figure of Mitt Romney who is taking flak from the Republican right because he created in Massachusetts an entitlement which they allege spends too much. Can the same Republicans be heard to say in the next breath that they are supporting senior citizens entitlement to healthcare?
The analogy is to a pole reversal in the Earth's magnetic field. Sooner or later the Democrats will find a way to give away more money to more interest groups which require Republicans to stand athwart the gravy train tracks shouting, "stop."
I believe the key to avoiding this trap perennially laid on by liberals to make conservatives look mean is to continue to pound on the issue of liberty. Republicans are defending the right to die in dignity with every right to an equal portion of the commonweal's assets devoted to their care. The Democrats find themselves in the position, unaccountably, in which they put on the green eye shades and insidiously deprive one class, the elderly, of equal share of society's assets to favor another class. That is the issue for us.
My father-in-law was a retired Army officer. And I mean the old fashioned army, the army of WWII and Korea. He spent time in a German POW camp, was on the staff of the base commander at several large posts. He got up every morning of his retired life and raised a flag on a flag pole he had put in his front yard. He would travel hundreds of miles to attend reunions of his old army units. He lived a regimented life that would do any old school army person proud. So far so good.
I had always just assumed, uh oh, he would consider Bill Clinton an enemy to everything he had fought for and believe in all his life. Clinton, who was a draft dodger, who had said in writing that he loathed the military, etc. Slam dunk Bush voter, no? But he was a Catholic from a suburb of Boston, came from a long line of Democrats and liberals and that outweighed even his army experience. Damned if he didn't vote TWICE for Clinton! Turns out his raising trumped his training.
I know this does nothing to explain much of anything, but it helps me to understand how Obama got elected.
Perhaps the conservative voters did not see a conservative option to choose from in the last election. After 8 years of disappointment with Republican socialist lite policies, as well as an erupting financial crisis, voters decided to try the other option. Another explanation is they were sending a message to the Republican party which doesn’t seem to been understood.
re: decide their votes in the last days before an election
And they base that decision on what they read and hear, and which comes down to simply that is liberal equals good, conservative means bad. Not only bad, but evil. There vote is based on feelings that have been planted by the spin of the press for months and months leading up to the vote.
The years of public education at the hands of mostly liberal teachers have primed the pump, and the press has topped off the mix to assure they will vote liberal.
Any Democratic constituent guilt over the paving of the planet will be assuaged by raising electric rates on evil businesses via cap and trade. One small correction though, Byrd's projects are mostly to tear down entire mountains to pave a small strip and plant tall fescue on the rest. But that is just a quibble about your otherwise excellent post.
“...who is this majority that put a socialist in the White house and gave him a socialist majority in Congress, the better to turn the US into a socialist nation? Are that many Americans that stupid?”
Oprah’s fans for one. The View’s audience for another.
There are a lot of middle class white women who worship Oprah and the women of the View. They trusted Oprah when she endorsed Obama. And those suburban women don’t really follow politics in a serious way or have strong opinions on issues.
But a lot of them are waking up. It’s no fun having to put your family on a strict budget or hearing that your kids might be put into a health care plan that is no better than the poor person’s plan up the road. Soccer moms want their kids to have the best (and that’s a good thing.) They have cool shoes and cool clothes and cool toys. They play sports and take lessons. What makes the democrats think that these moms want their kids to have poor-people health care?
I think they are waking up.
What it means is that everything is relative. I know extremely liberal people who think they are conservative if only because they know people who are even more liberal than they are.
Yours is the best analysis I’ve seen. You must be pretty smart seeing as how you have the good sense to agree with me! Seriously, I have been thinking in the same terms, though not as clearly stated. Thanks for filling in the gaps for me.
How many self-identified conservatives oppose on philosophical grounds a new program that benefits them directly? And, then, of course, the seduction becomes complete when once they have it, it becomes a right to be angrily protected.
At least one time in my life I rejected a benefit on philosophical grounds - I returned to college in my 40s and even though I qualified for student aid I consciously chose not to take it. I’m no hero for so doing, but how many conservatives participated in cash for clunkers?
Some people think conservative means you shouldn’t have more than four illegitimate children for the government to support.
Considering that back in ‘96 someone told me that he was voting for Clinton because Bob Dole,”Is such a liar”, I think that many Americans are that stupid. When Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton and others of their ilk are described by some people as conservative it leads me to believe that most people don’t have a clear idea of what is meant. When people talk about how many conservatives voted for Barack Obama I get the notion they don’t know what the word means.
the dead ones put him in office
While your argument that it was an unfavorable environment for Republicans is quite on point, and while we are largely in agreement with regard to the causes thereof, the bare fact remains that the entire primary season and early election season were designed in their totality for a run "up the middle" (read "turn even harder to the left"). Rather than being a reasonable damage control tactic, this served to alienate and drive the Conservative base even further away from any reconciliation. Conservatives were not merely angry, not outraged, they were apoplectic.
Regardless of whatever credentials Palin might have to wear the Conservative mantle (none), it was far too little, far too late. Republicans had been hemorrhaging Conservatives badly since 04, and now, there are more Conservatives outside Reagan's House than in it (me included).
And there were times and strategies that would have brought the base back, at least in part - The House sit-in for off-shore drilling springs to mind - Had that been parlayed by the party into a bone for the Conservatives, If the House alone been given the investment needed to stay true to Conservatism, there may well have been a chance of saving the House. But everything, if you'll recall, was poured into saving McCain, and the House Republicans were hung out to dry, in the media, financially, and politically, by the Republican leadership.
And while your demographics are convincing on the surface, the very same arguments were being made prior to Reagan. The overwhelming argument at the time was gender rather than race. Then the Conservatives were doomed by the fact that minorities voted Democrat, and half the population were women bent upon feminism, so Conservatism would never be a force.
But I am one of Limbaugh's "See, I Told You So" Conservatives.
If the over-arching truth of this article holds true, and we are a Conservative nation, then the very same dynamic that has aways supplied Conservatives their power still applies today in spades.
That marvelous "thing" is the depth of demographics that goes unmeasured, because it didn't necessarily rise up in the last election. The Christian Right is a microcosm of that larger demographic, and is somewhat measurable. When the Christians get lit up, their electoral power doubles. That's from 30m guaranteed, to 60m. In an electoral field of approx. 300m, that is a game-changer. The other pillars are harder to gauge, but these, added with the general popularity of a Reagan revolutionary, become an unstoppable force -
Not by convincing the static 300m voters to go either way, as the common thought implies, but because those who don't normally become engaged in the process take the time to participate because something rings in them like a bell. Attracting more of the non-voters is the key, and with 60% of the country claiming Conservatism, that far outweighs any other demographic.
Conservatives made a bargain with Ronald Reagan. They have not forgotten. They have told their sons and daughters of that bargain, and they will keep that promise close. If they are represented, they come running. The closer you get to those principles, the more of them you will get.
As to that 18 state blue wall: Those same blue states were blue states before Reagan, and have always tended to be blue states. It is the red states turning purple that should give you pause. And while the "Left Coast" is decidedly blue, that has just about run it's course. They will turn to Conservatism out of sheer desperation if nothing else, and soon.
And lastly, as to racial profiling in demographics, I reject it outright. Native Hispanics tend to be Conservative. Southern Blacks tend to be Conservative. Moral values and family values have as much impact in these groups as in any other, as do pocket-book and small business issues. Folks is folks, as it were. I refuse to fall into that trap.
I come to the conclusion that charisma is of little value, as always. Gingrich was undoubtedly the captain of the 94 revolution, and while a good speaker, he is hardly charismatic in the same league as Reagan, or an orator of the strength of Obama. He is just an intelligent guy with a sensible (at the time) outlook, and a dumpy, pudgy office drone look. He spoke to the people, spoke Conservatively, and people believed him.
And GWB, in his first incarnation, leaned heavily to the right. Sure there were indications of his real direction, but at the time, he walked the walk. Bush cannot be thought of as charismatic, and his mumbling, stuttering speech is infamous.
From the opposing view, lets not forget that king of charisma, Romney, with his slicked back hair and Dentyne schwing, who had a terrible time beating back dumpy ol' Huckabee and his Christian Right brigade... And Alan Keyes, who is simply brilliant, and a magnificent orator, perhaps the best I have ever heard, who cannot get enough face time to matter...
Yes Reagan had it all, but others got it done too- The problem lies in their betrayal. I would trade one real solid Conservative with a real solid record (subliminal mssg: Duncan Hunter) for ten charismatic betrayers. Do not fall for such fallacy.
What is necessary is to follow the recipe. A Conservative who adheres to the principles of all three pillars, and has the record to prove it. Damn the party, and damn the media. Lift him up, and he will win.
I don’t think it even means that. A conservative is someone who thinks you should be able to keep 25% of your income in New Jersey, Massachussetts, New York, or Illinois. A liberal in those states thinks you should keep nothing, as it wasn’t yours, and you only got it because you exploited the system.
This is essentially an anomalous situation that will not long obtain. Either the Democrats will wise up and find a way between now and November 2010 to posture as the great entitlement givers or they will find a way, as they have every election cycle, to libel the Republicans as satanic princes who would take away their Social Security.
By the way, This is an enjoyable little conundrum you've raised here.
I have been recently toying with a device to facilitate returning unconstitutional federal departments to the pervue of the states where they rightfully belong...
The problem with these programs lie in the fact that they are federally administered and mandated - It is nearly impossible to wholly abolish them without catastrophic and very real damage to those who have grown to rely upon them. Yet the money for the program, and the deals being lobbied against it are far removed from the people, and from the states.
What I would propose as an interim device is a federal level office, much as it is now, but with a very limited federal interface. Perhaps a congressional committee. The real working administration of the fund, and it's power, would be appointed by the states severally - perhaps by each Governor's office - with it's offices further distributed into each state.
This would have the immediate effect of confounding the lobbyists, and placing the power of the federal department in the hands of the states severally, albeit a hybrid, still and all, a closer fit to the Constitutional norm. Being an interim device, for use primarily until the federal debt is resolved, the intent would be to collapse the system into the states singly, where such a thing would rightly belong, if such a thing is necessary at all, and where the people have direct control of their representatives.
I would particularly like to see this contraption employed upon the Department of Education - Gutting it at the federal level for everything except leveling funds and standards, leaving all the rest for the states to figure out for themselves.
As a small minority, they support and hire each other. Once you get a homosexual in a management position, more will be hired. It works the same way with other small minority groups, too, of course.
They are probably a bit more than 2%, especially if you include bi-sexuals.
That 2% or whatever it is probably makes up 30%-40% of the white liberal population.
They’ve been successful in networking and forming alliances as well as emulating the civil rights movement in exploiting white, middle—class guilt. Plus, most of them are, in my experience, natural bitchers and complainers who use pressure and persistance to get their way.
You put your finger on turn out although you do not use the term. I think that is the remaining hope for the conservative cause as it faces a daunting wall of obstacles in the next election. We must keep in mind that the numbers I have quoted were of "voters" but even in a national election for President, the intensity factor never much exceeds 55% (56.8% in' 08) and in the mid-to high 30% range for midterms (37.1% in' 06) That leaves a lot of room for play, especially in 2010. It is in this context that I accept your argument that what the conservative message needs is conservatism. There are a lot of conservatives out there who do not vote because they have become sick and tired of being treated as redheaded stepchildren. So, if we could have converted 4.8% of the Democrat voters we would have won the last election. Equally, if we could have found 7% or 8% of nonvoters to support the Republicans, we would have won. Between these two blocks it is possible, I think, to close the gap.
And this is where the argument that this is a conservative nation comes in. When an issue arises such as the governance provided by Barack Obama in busting the budget with porkulus, the budget itself, Cap and Trade, and healthcare, voter intensity increases. But for every 10 new voters lured to the polls conservatives will get a majority perhaps as many as seven. We already know from a recent gallop poll that Obama's preference among unaffiliated voters has slipped to 50/50. So not only would he be losing new voters, he would be losing independents who likely voted for him last time around.
Incidentally, I especially agree with your gripe about energy and the missed opportunity. Months before the '06 election I posted a a reply predicting the 2006 disaster and suggesting what might be done while we still controlled the House:
1. Republicans are likely to lose the House this fall because they overspent, they failed to enforce the laws that would have sealed the border and drained away illegal immigration, and the war in Iraq has gone sour.
2. When the Republicans lose the house the present Senate bill will look very good indeed because there then will be no barrier in the House, the Senate, or the White House to the virtual abandonment of the borders.
3. If we lose the Senate as well as the House, there will be utterly no restraints on immigration because the President is simply philosophically opposed to any limitation on immigration.
4. The truth is that conservatism has lost its hold on the Republican Party and, whether we want it or not, we are now about to face our time in the wilderness. Blame is equally to be shared by senators, representatives, and the president. Thieves and Rinos and porkers in the Senate, thieves and porkers in the House, and a President who is utterly abdicated his sworn duty to enforce immigration laws and who has committed one public-relations disaster after another from Harriet Myers to Katrina and who has deliberately validated our enemies as persons, and who has handed over to them our educational system, our prescription drug system, and our federal budget, all have combined to put conservatism in a coma for awhile.
5. The house should pass the most restrictive immigration law it can muster and create the issue for the election.
6. The house should pass every conceivable energy measure such as drilling in Anwar, drilling offshore and around Florida etc. providing for refineries, providing for nuclear power plants and let the Democrats and the Rinos oppose them and create a climate in which the people can direct their rage about gas prices at the Democrats.
7. The reality is of course is it's all too late for this and any other intelligent policies which might have saved the Republican Party from the disaster which is facing us. Many of our problems have been brought on by Iraq and there too we could have done much better in a public-relations sense. Alas it is all too late now. There is nothing left but to go the polls and vote for the most conservative man on the ticket who has a chance of winning. Let's fight the good fight and go down like soldiers.
A whole lot of Americans are just fair-minded people who try to avoid cynicism by giving others the benefit of the doubt.
Zippy ran as a moderate and millions of voters accepted his words at face value without doing much research and without much concern for what was at stake.
That can be termed stupidity but I think it was more a case of the Obamanoids exploiting the natural good will of the American people with lies, subterfuge, and misrepresentations.
One think about us dumb Americans, however—when we realize we’ve been lied to we can be a mighty nasty bunch.
Franklin Roosevelt federalized patronage that formerly had been controlled by the big-city bosses. Before that, I think under Wilson, we federalized the income tax through amendment(we don't bother with amendments much anymore; we usually get the court to ratify the process of federalization) and provided the means to shift the patronage of the city to the feds. So instead of boss Hague in Jersey City bragging that everybody in Jersey City, or at least one of his relatives, was on his payroll. Now everybody or one of his relatives is on Social Security. Social Security sure beats a Christmas turkey.
Under these conditions there is simply not the political will to accomplish what you, me, and Justice Scalia think the Constitution requires. The game was over after the court packing scheme did not succeed in packing the court but did succeed in intimidating it into rubber stamping the federalization of everything.
This is disheartening, but I have suspected these things for some time. It appears that under the present circumstances, that once the generation of older white voters dies, conservatives are in deep doo-doo. The Alinskyites have done their work well, especially in their infiltration of the “chokepoints”, and in appealing to people’s sense of “entitlement”, and in undermining people’s patriotism and belief in or concern for overarching American principles.
But how does that add up to this poll which states that a majority self-identify as “conservative”?
I think the first principle is that in politics you are either on defense or on offense and defense is a very bad place to be. Much of being on offense comes from taking charge of the language and thus taking charge of the debate. We all know that election advisers there candidates to define their adversary before he can define himself. And so it is with the issues as well.
There is a great story of Gertrude Stein who was approached by her acolytes on her deathbed and they asked "Gertrude Gertrude what is the answer." The great philosopher rose up on her elbows and croaked, "what is the question?" As any attorney knows, if you asked the right question you're going to get the right answer but if you asked the wrong question you get the wrong answer. The job of the candidate or the candidate's adviser is to ask the right questions that is to structure the debate on turf favorable to your side.
So long as Republicans are defending themselves against charges of stealing grandma's Social Security check they are on the defensive and they are losing. Obama just found that out when he had to defend itself on charges of pushing grandma off on the ice flow. I have been saying since before the election that the subject for debate for Republicans is liberty and if you look at the health care debate you will see that it is about liberty, freedom to choose etc. You also see that we are winning that debate and the Democrats clearly have got themselves on the wrong side of the issue.
Interestingly, if you listen to Rush Limbaugh you almost never hear him telling America that they have to repeal Social Security and observe the constitutional limits on federal power. He talks about people's freedom to smoke, to drive the car they want, to have the lightbulbs they want, to say what they want. He paints the left as a set of control freaks.
Limbaugh does not to use this tactic because he lacks a theoretical understanding of the American Constitution, nor does he lack in acquaintanceship with Milton Friedman. Limbaugh does this because he knows he has to popularize the matter and because he wants to demonstrate how constitutional principles affect people in their everyday lives. He wants to preach the gospel without citing the gospel. He knows that much of the Constitution today is simply unpalatable to an electorate conditioned to entitlements.
I think it's also instructive to look at the issues which Newt Gingrich has put forward as those which Republicans should advocate: English, immigration, energy. Gingrich says that these issues have all been polled and they all show overwhelming support. Of all people alive today, Newt Gingrich certainly has the chops for this assertion. He has proven that he can put together a platform, a Contract with America, which can drive the money changers out of the temple. It is a pity that more conservatives turned a deaf ear to him because he had a zipper problem.
The trick to winning back Congress is to nationalize the midterm election 2010. Gingrich is a proven genius at this. So. Apparently, is Obama.
The point is that both these men know enough to stay away from taking away people's rice bowl and talk about giving them their liberty back.That is not to say that the overwhelming weight of demographics and race is pressing down against us. The trend is not our friend.
Then it appears that we are still in a bad place, because as you said, the left controls the “chokepoints”, and controls the message that is disseminated to the public, students, etc. That has been one of our major problems all along, we haven’t been able, for all of talk radio, the internet, and the so-called “dying dinosaur media”, been able to have an equal platform to the largest public to get our message out on our terms, or define ourselves in the universities, or even get free speech in many cases in academia. To add insult to injury, not only do we get to define ourselves and our message to the public, the left wrongly defines us. And that’s only getting worse, the media and academia make not even a pretense of being fair and unbiassed mere purveyors of news and education anymore, they are increasingly open and blatant about supporting the left’s agenda. And I believe we’re fooling ourselves when we talk about the death of the MSM, most people still get what little news they get from a major newspaper or alphabet network, if they even pay attention to that. The left’s definition of themselves and of us seems to be in the very air the public breathes these days. More people pay attention to reality shows, Hollywood, entertainment, than to real news now, and the left gets its messages and definitions out through those channels very well, ie, the late-night comedians, Hollywood films, etc.
I often feel that I would gladly trade much of our 20/21st century “progress” in many areas, for the freedom our forefathers had to just live their lives without all the weight of the government jackboot on their necks. What good is all our “progress” without freedom? We are just well-kept slaves.
Sorry, Nathan, but Gingrich had more than a "zipper problem." He has a credibility problem. He will sound totally rational one day, and the next tell us "We are at the end of the Reagan era" or be appearing in "climate change" commercials with Nancy Pelosi, or, in his most recent endeavor, on a tour about education with ... Al Sharpton? To push Obama educational reforms? What is he thinking?
Limbaugh does this because he knows he has to popularize the matter and because he wants to demonstrate how constitutional principles affect people in their everyday lives. He wants to preach the gospel without citing the gospel. He knows that much of the Constitution today is simply unpalatable to an electorate conditioned to entitlements.
Here's Limbaugh's response to Gingrich's "Reagan era is over" comments:
"Figure out what the country needs" and then do it? We know what the country needs already! That's our ace-in-the-hole. One of the things Newt said in this interview was, "Far beyond just how do I subsidize your heating oil, how do I make it unnecessary for you to buy as much heating oil? And there are dramatic things we can do in that conversation." Now, "How do I...?" He means a president, running a campaign, not him. "How do I subsidize your heating oil?" We Republicans are going to talk about subsidizing people's heating oil now, and we're going to call that conservatism? If you want to talk about that, fine! If that's what you want the Republican Party to be, then be that and go ahead and say that's what you want, but don't call it conservatism. "There are dramatic things we can do in that conversation. I want to make it unnecessary for you to buy as much heating oil"? Now, conservation is great, folks. Conservation is great, but conservation does not equal growth. To sit out there and say people need to buy less and less heating oil, okay. Buy natural gas furnace, or any number of things, but if this country has always been about: "You need heating oil? It's going to be there. You need gasoline? It's going to be there."
The burden is not on you to conserve so that it's always there! It's economic. Capitalism is the greatest force for change in the world! Mark Steyn has a brilliant piece today on this very subject. It's how capitalism forces major innovation and change, not politicians, not Washington, not government. They don't force any kind of change other than in primaries with perception and attitudes and make people think that they're going to be better off, but it is capitalism that forces genuine change throughout culture and throughout society. Newt could have just as easily said here that conservative principles don't change, that the Reagan coalition is simply looking for leadership and that we need to bring more creative policy alternatives to the table than we have in the recent past. But that's not what he said. He said, "The era of Reagan is over. ... It's the end of the Reagan era." It is not. If the Reagan era is over, if the Reagan coalition is dead, what replaced it? Could somebody tell me? Precisely nothing has replaced it, and that's why so many people are scratching their heads, why so many people are a little nervous, because there isn't any real leadership out there that causes people and inspires people to get behind it and go rah-rah and make certain things happen.
Newt does not symbolize "real leadership."
Who was the driving force behind "drill here drill now"?
Now if I could myself only take the general's advice.
.....”never take counsel of your fears.”....
General George Patton
Was he quoting T.E. Jackson?
Well I know many don’t believe but I deal with my trepidations by knowing that God wins :) and I’m on His side.
Because the "right", or rather, the Republicans, are not standing upon Conservatism. Republicans are standing upon pragmatism rather than principle, just as much as the Democrats are.
Conservatives are Conservatives. It isn't a political movement, it is a way of life. Their color doesn't matter. They vote *for* Conservatives. If one doesn't offer something they can vote *for*, they don't show up. Ergo, statistically, if they don't show up, the (seemingly) racial vote goes for the opponent.